Woman Dies After Lap-Band Procedure—5th So Far

Her outpatient center calls story 'premature'

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 24, 2011 2:56 PM CDT

(Newser) – Lap-Band surgery appears to have claimed another victim. A woman in Orange County, Calif., died earlier this month after undergoing the procedure, the fifth to expire since the 1-800-GET-THIN advertising campaign started two years ago, the Los Angeles Times reports. Paula Rojeski, 55, was 5 foot 5 and weighed around 180 pounds when she underwent the stomach surgery to discourage overeating.

A lawyer for Rojeski's outpatient center called "any loss of life is tragic," but said "reporting on this matter is premature." Lap-Band surgery deaths have already sparked several lawsuits, aimed at medical centers, doctors, and even the Times for its stories. All Rojeski wanted was a way to finally slim down. "She was really excited, really happy. She told me, 'I'm going to be skinny!'" says a friend. "I was a supportive friend, but I didn't think she needed it. I don't understand why it would be worth the risk for 20 or 30 pounds."

An Orange County, Calif., woman died after having Lap-Band surgery earlier this month.
An Orange County, Calif., woman died after having Lap-Band surgery earlier this month.   (Flickr)
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